How Hamas Changed the World

by Paul Larudee, published on Substack, May 4, 2024

In a June, 2023 article, The Fall of the West, I named 2023 as the end date of a half millennium of Western domination of world power. Although neither the start nor the end of the era can be entirely discrete, the key indicator for that year was the failure of the combined might of the US and all of NATO to prevail over Russia, a relatively modest economic power, in the Ukraine war. Subsequent developments on the Ukrainian battlefields, as well as the astonishing resilience of the Russian economy, only support that conclusion.

But 2023 had another momentous event in store for us, which also marked a great change in the world power structure, bolstering the claim for marking 2023 as the end of an era. That event was the October 7th, 2023 revolt by Hamas and its allies against Israel’s increasingly repressive occupation of Palestine, and especially the repercussions of that revolt, changing the landscape of power worldwide in profound ways.

Although the Hamas revolt was puny by comparison with Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, its consequences were equally far reaching, due largely to Israel’s disproportionate response, directed against the Palestinian civil population and institutions rather than against the resistance fighters themselves, whose military capabilities were largely unaffected. This response is described by an Israeli military policy known as the Dahiyeh Doctrine, an extreme form of the war crime known as collective punishment, which deliberately inflicts massive and disproportionate destruction and casualties upon the civilian population and infrastructure as a deterrent against resistance. It is reminiscent of similar tactics in other wars and occupations, such as the Boer war in South Africa, the US exterminations in the Philippines, the Nazi repression in Greece and other territories, and in Russia, where it was given the name pogrom (“devastation”), when used by the tsars against internal populations. Israel has acknowledged using such war crimes as a means of dominating both its occupied Palestinian population and its neighbors.

In the case of Gaza, Israel has applied the doctrine multiple times, especially since sealing the enclave with walls and towers, largely completed in 2007. In the pogroms of 2008, 2012 and 2014, the ratio of deaths of mostly civilian Palestinians to mostly military Israelis has been as high as 100:1, in keeping with the Dahiyeh Doctrine.

This changed dramatically with the Hamas led revolt of October 7th, although only for a single day. On that day, the casualty rates were decidedly in favor of the resistance fighters, despite the fact that many of the Israeli casualties, including civilians, were inflicted by Israeli troops themselves as indiscriminate “friendly fire”. Israel counted 1,163 Israeli deaths, including hundreds by Israeli forces, firing upon other Israeli soldiers and civilians. The number of Palestinians killed that day is unreported, as far as I can tell, but surely much smaller, and all or nearly all combatants.

The repercussions of the event, however, were due more to Israel’s response than to the initial actions of Hamas and its allies. True to form, Israel responded massively with indiscriminate bombing against the Palestinian civilian population, killing tens of thousands of mostly women and children, and destroying most of the buildings and infrastructure throughout the Strip. By early 2024, most of the remaining population had lost their homes and livelihood, and had been driven on foot to the town of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, quintupling its population. In addition, Israel destroyed Gaza’s water, sewage, electric and medical services, and severed or severely restricted its access to food, fuel and medicine, causing deliberate starvation and disease. Starving mothers delivered stillborn babies, or ones who died soon after birth, due to the inability of the mothers’ bodies to produce milk.

Israel’s intention was and is clearly to commit genocide and ethnic cleansing. So clear, in fact, that it has been articulated explicitly by the Israeli leadership and military, to the extent of calling for redevelopment of an empty Gaza Strip by Zionist Jewish settlers upon conclusion of the genocide. There is even suspicion, in some quarters, that Israel permitted and enabled the Hamas attack as a pretext for the genocide, to absolve Israel of its premeditated crime. The notion is not far-fetched. The population in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories is probably less than half Jewish, an intolerable situation for the Zionist leadership desiring to annex those territories, which it calls “greater Israel”. In addition, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is desperate to remain in power, if only to avoid legal prosecution on corruption charges. That, plus the legacy of “enlarging” Israel, would also be a motive for letting Hamas provide the pretext for genocide.

None of this has been lost on the rest of the world. Few nations are willing to be associated with such monstrous acts, especially when their populations fill the streets with demonstrations after seeing daily footage from Gaza. Countries around the world have ceased or reduced their military sales. Commercial, diplomatic and even academic ties are shunned. The International Court of Justice has issued an injunction against Israel, and has recorded public denunciation pronouncements from 52 nations made by their representatives before the ICJ bench. Israel has lost many of the links that it spent decades developing with the rest of the world. It has become isolated except for its ties with the US and a dwindling number of US allies. The vaunted “Abraham accords” have become an embarrassment to the few Arab states that agreed to them. In the space of a few months, Israel has become a pariah among nations.

The US can, of course, supply all of Israel’s needs, including vast quantities of weapons for genocide, and apparently intends to do so, regardless of Israel’s extermination of Palestinians, or the opinion of the rest of the world or even the American people. But most of the rest of the world is washing its hands of Israel. This constitutes a global realignment similar to that of the Ukraine war and its reverberations. Even many Israelis have fled the country – estimates run between 0.5 to 1.0 million – leaving it a smaller redoubt of mostly fanatical and violent Zionists that an increasing number of Jews now oppose, many of them quite actively.

Furthermore, Israel will not achieve its goal of emptying Gaza and defeating Hamas. Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian resistance have not merely demonstrated that they cannot be defeated, but neither can its allies in Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq (al-Hashd al-Shaebi), Iran, Yemen (Ansar Allah) and other forces in the region. Hamas and its allies can make Gaza just as unlivable for Israelis as Israel is trying to make it for Palestinians.

The defeat of the US and Israel in Gaza comes on the heels of the US/NATO defeat in Ukraine, and with similar effect, sapping the global dominance of the US and the West, and bringing an end to Western hegemony.

*Featured Image: Palestinians climb atop a burning Israeli tank near the Gaza-Israel boundary fence, 7 October. APA images

Dr. Paul Larudee has been a faculty member at universities in California and Beirut, and has volunteered as a human rights activist in the U.S., Cuba, Palestine and other countries. He is Chief Executive Officer of the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees, a human rights NGO active mainly in West Asia and Latin America, and he appears frequently on Press TV. His writings on Syria include Mythology, Barrel Bombs and Human Rights Watch, The National Geographic Hell on Earth Syria Hoax and The Syrian Charity Scam all of which expose fraud and disinformation in the western media as well as the terrorist groups that pose as humanitarian organizations under the protection of the U.S. and other western governments.  He participated in organizing the first “Boat to Gaza”.

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